Paul Rolly: Bramble flubs figures on vouchers

Published October 24, 2007 2:26 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For a certified public accountant, Senate Majority Leader Curtis Bramble needs to brush up on his math.

Bramble had an opinion piece in the Provo Daily Herald on Saturday that argued that voters should approve private school vouchers. He noted that from 1995 to 2005, Utah's public school enrollment increased by 34,423 students. He said that between 2005 and 2015, the projected growth will be 154,752 students, "a staggering 450 percent increase."

He goes on to say that "it's not hard to see what a 450 percent increase in student population is going to do to public education."

But according to his own figures, the 154,752 is not a 450 percent increase in the student population, which currently is about 540,000. It's 450 percent of the 34,423 students that represented the previous 10-year increase.

If there were a 450 percent increase in the student population by 2015, we would have 3 million student-age children. That's about a half-million more than Utah's entire population. To reach that figure, every woman in Utah of child-bearing age would have to have six more children.

The Provo Republican then argues that in order to pay for the 450 percent increase, we would have to triple the income tax. But in actuality, the projected 154,752 new students represent a 28.5 percent increase in the student population.

Multilevel marketing: Bramble's mathematical error is repeated in an e-mail that is the subject of a Tribune story today in which prominent Utah employers are teaming with legislative leaders to encourage employees to vote for vouchers.

Onward Christian Soldiers: Voucher advocates who keep screaming about teachers and PTA members addressing the voucher issue at public schools apparently have no problem sneaking into churches and planting pro-voucher propaganda.

Parishioners attending the 5:30 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of the Madeleine on Sunday were aghast to find inside their programs pro-voucher fliers urging them to vote for Referendum 1.

The Rev. Joseph Mayo says whoever put the fliers inside the programs did so without authorization.

"We put a stop to it shortly after Mass began, so hopefully people were not too offended," he said.

With one voice: Thursday morning, the Deseret Morning News was the only paper that could be purchased from The Salt Lake Tribune sales box outside of Callies Cafe in Orem, in keeping, apparently, with the Utah County tradition of information cleansing.

Meanwhile: At the newsstand on 200 South and Main Street in Salt Lake City, you could still get The Tribune from The Tribune's box Tuesday, but it was the edition dated Oct. 2, with the front-page headline about murderers escaping from the Daggett County jail.

By contrast, the Deseret Morning News' box had the current edition available for news consumers.

prolly@ sltrib.com

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